I needed a win in the kitchen, and this was it! I was SO HAPPY with this chicken caesar pasta! I made a few things recently that I just wasn’t thrilled with. One was a sandwich which was pretty good and I prob will still blog it. The other. Ugg. It just wasn’t great and I plan to remake it for you. It just had such porky potential!
This Chicken Caesar Pasta was perfect! I love watching the little one eat spaghetti and he was very into the chicken. It was freezing, otherwise we might have grilled the chicken. It was quick (or could largely be made in advance) and is a crowd pleaser for sure. Win. Win. Win! Caesar begs for anchovy paste…don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. That is absolutely what gives that Caesar flavor…plus the pepper and Parmesan don’t hurt either.
Chicken Caesar Pasta (serves 4)
~3 chicken thighs/tenders/breasts (I used thighs, of course)
1/4 cup salad dressing for marinade (I used creamy Caesar)
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups Parmesan
cracked black pepper
tiny dab (1/8 of a teaspoon, 1/4 inch squirt from the tube) Anchovy Paste
2 cups greens (I used a spinach/baby kale mix that go into my smoothies)
1/2 pound spaghetti
Heat all the things: a large pot of salted water to a boil (for the pasta), preheat the oven to 350 (to keep the chicken warm), heat a large pan to medium heat with a tablespoon of olive oil (for the chicken).
In a medium pot, add in the heavy cream and grate or mince the clove of garlic. Heat over medium for about 10 minutes.
While the cream and garlic are cooking together, use the large pan with oil to pan sear the chicken. Brown it on each side, then pop into the oven to keep it warm or finish cooking it.
Add the pasta into the boiling water.
Slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Add the cheese, pepper, and anchovy paste to the cream sauce stirring well. Cook for about 5-10 minutes.
Chop the greens.
Drain the pasta and return it to the large pot. Add in the greens & cream sauce (ladle the sauce in and stir so you can add what you like).
Add in the chicken and toss to coat everything.
The sauce was a trick from Sunny Anderson’s Instagram: 123 sauce – 1 garlic clove, 2 cups heavy cream, 3 cups cheese. I took a little liberty on the ratios since I knew I didn’t need too much. Love it.
In a hurry? Use leftover grilled chicken and doctor up a jar of alfredo with the Parm & anchovy paste. Add in any greens you have (spinach will cook enough from the hot pasta, or saute any you have on hand). Boom. Dinner = done. Next time I might top it with some toasted panko/parmesan/drizzle of caesar & butter for a super crunchy topping!
You know how I’m obsesssssed with grain bowls? This one was on my list for awhile and we all loved it. In the words of Joey Tribiani: what’s not to love? chicken? good! rice pilaf? good! avocado? good! bacon? goooood!
My other favs: Italian Grain Bowls with cracked wheat & Falafel Grain Bowls with couscous. The little one likes the challenge of eating rice. This would also be a good way to use any leftover grilled chicken and it is an easy way to stretch chicken since you wouldn’t need much at all here. We used our fav: chicken thighs.
Marinaded & grilled chicken
3 strips of bacon
honey mustard dressing
Marinade the chicken in salad dressing or your fav marinade for 4+ hours, or all day. Then grill the chicken to cook through.
Cook the rice pilaf according to the package and fluff with a fork.
Chop the bacon and then pan fry until the bite-sized pieces are crisp. Then remove and drain on paper towel.
Slice the avocado, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Slice the chicken.
Assemble and drizzle with honey mustard.
This was a hit. It worked out perfectly to grill on an unseasonably warm night. I liked this twist since I’d been thinking more Mediterranean/Thai. This was comforting and felt casually fun. Bring on all the grain bowls! Plus, it is so amusing to see the determination of a toddler scooping and then spooning rice into his mouth!
We had a date night to a super delicious French restaurant the other night. I believe duck on a menu cannot be bypassed. I saw coq au vin on the specials and while I didn’t order it, it reminded me to make it. I also wanted to simplify it. It is a traditional and a peasant dish for the French. Any meat cooked until really tender in wine is the perfect comfort for a cool or rainy day.
I made it in the pressure cooker (in 10 minutes), but it’d be good on the stove if you have a little more time (~40 minutes).
4 slices of bacon, chopped
4 boneless, skinless, chicken thighs, cut into 6 pieces
3 carrots, pealed & chopped
2 cups pearl onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 red wine
1 pint of portabella mushrooms (& tablespoon of butter)
2/3 cup marsala wine or cooking sherry
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
Pan fry the bacon in a large skillet or dutch oven until crisp. Then spoon onto a paper towel and leave the bacon drippings in the pan.
Then brown the chicken on each side.
Then add the chicken, bacon, carrots, onions, garlic, thyme, chicken broth, and wine into a pressure cooker (or crockpot, or into the dutch oven).
In a pressure cooker, cook on high for 10 minutes.
In a crockpot, cook for 2 hours on high.
In a dutch oven, cover and simmer for 40 minutes.
While the chicken cooks, saute the mushrooms in a little butter to brown.
Then add in the marsala/sherry to deglaze, scraping off the brown bits at the bottom.
Mash together the 2 tablespoons of butter with the 2 tablespoons of flour & add to the mushrooms. Mix well and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the chicken/onion/carrot mixture into the mushrooms and a few spoonfuls of the wine/broth. Cook for 5 minutes over a low simmer.
Serve over mashed potatoes or egg noodles.
I loved it. The chicken got purple-y from the wine. I don’t know how the pros avoid that, but there was so much flavor in this, I was happy to look past it. My mom makes it with white wine, which is delicious too.
Make this…just don’t use chicken breast. Don’t do it. If you do, you’ll be sad when the chicken is stringy and isn’t juicy. This is also a great use if you have old-ish wine open, or a wine you don’t love. The sauce is delightfully flavored and I liked the mushrooms to thicken the sauce just a tiny bit. Voila!
My new fav dinner are these grain bowls! I made Falafel Bowls and was chomping at the bit to make another! I am obsessed with the toppings, how filling they are, and having a bite of this, with a bite of that! Roasted veggies with raw veggies with cheese and meatballs. Yes. Yes. Yes.
My base was cracked wheat, but risotto/rice/orzo would all be good. I topped them with roasted asparagus, chopped tomato, fresh mozzarella, and meatballs with a drizzle of pesto. Seriously, I could eat this weekly. The little guy loved it too!
1 cup cracked wheat
1 1/2 cup water/broth
1 bunch asparagus or a large zucchini
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons Parmesan
3 tablespoons pesto or marinara
Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.
In a medium pot, bring cracked wheat & broth to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Trim the asparagus and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Roast for about 15 minutes.
Heat the meatballs (mine were frozen turkey meatballs).
Slice the tomato and asparagus.
Assemble the bowls with cracked wheat, tomatoes, mozzarella, meatballs, and asparagus. Sprinkle with parmesan.
Drizzle with pesto and enjoy!
This is suchhh a fast and hands-off dinner. It’d be a great use for leftovers. Add in whatever you like: roasted peppers; olives; zucchini; eggplant; mushrooms; etc. You could swap the pesto for alfredo or marinara.
I used these brussels sprouts as a slaw with apples, to go on a wrap with crispy chicken and buttermilk ranch. It was delightfully autumn-inspired for an unseasonably warm weekday that I wanted a speedy dinner that was a bit more unusual than the norm.
We tend to have big tortillas around because believe it or not, the almost-2 year old will eat a whole one as a quesadilla. The chicken was living a happy life in the freezer and only the apple and brussels were fresh. Voila! Dinner!
Ingredients: (for 2 wraps)
2 crispy chicken tenders
~6 brussels sprouts
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
2 burrito-sized tortillas
3 tablespoons buttermilk ranch dressing
Cook the chicken according to the package…some are raw and need to get fully cooked, others come fully cooked and just need to be heated and warmed through.
In a bowl, whisk together mustard, apple cider vinegar, and honey. Slice the bottoms of the brussels sprouts, then finely chop them into slivers and add to the dressing. Slice the apple and add that in as well.
Let the slaw sit in the dressing, stirred occasionally, for 10 minutes while everything else preps.
Slice the chicken and let cool just a bit.
Lay the wrap out, then top with slaw, chicken, and a drizzle of ranch.
Fold the “ends” in, then start to wrap with the end closest to you folding over the filling. slowly roll it and tuck the “ends” into the middle to keep everything inside.
Add two toothpicks, slice between them, and enjoy!
The apple is awesome in there. I was interested to try the brussels sprouts raw. I’m not sure how I felt about it. It was pretty good. I did really love the mustard-y slaw dressing with the apple and then the crispy chicken. Overall it was a win in my book!
My crockpot got more of a workout in a few days than it has in a while. Mr. J made a cashew chicken that was great, though needs a tweak for next time. Stay tuned. I saw a chicken and golden mushroom recipe and thought I could lighten it the tiniest bit without sacrificing anything. Here it is, I loved it! It was good as leftovers and the babe liked it a lot.
Have you used golden mushroom soup? It is more like a thicker broth than a cream of mushroom. It can be hard to find. Find some. Stock up. Freeze some and use it the next time you need veggie broth.
Lightened up & adapted from Slow-Cooker Golden Mushroom Chicken
1 pound baby portabella mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
6 chicken tenders
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup water
1 can golden mushroom soup
1/4 cup cream cheese with chives
1 packet Italian Dressing mix
fresh cracked pepper
1/2 pound spaghetti
2 cups baby arugula
In a large skillet over medium heat, add butter and mushrooms to cook for about 5 minutes. Stir well to golden brown and until the liquid all evaporates.
Cut the chicken into cubes.
In a large bowl, mix together the broth, water, golden mushroom soup, cream cheese, Italian Dressing, and cracked pepper.
Spray a slow cooker with non-stick spray then add in the chicken, the mushrooms, and the sauce.
Turn to low for 4-5 hours.
To serve, boil salted water for the pasta. Add the arugula into the crockpot and stir over low/warming for about 5 minutes to wilt.
Cook the pasta to al dente.
Serve the chicken, mushrooms, & sauce over the pasta. Enjoy!
The original had 2x as much soup, 4x as much creamed cheese, 3x as much chicken, and no greens. Mine still had plenty of flavor, creaminess, and tender chicken. The arugula is peppery and adds a nicer crunch than parsley would be.
Polenta is the ingredient I always forget will provide the variety to a weeknight meal we all need. Rice takes forever. Pasta seems overdone. Polenta? Yeah polenta cooks in just a few minutes. I like it soupy to be spoon-able. I used pre-cooked turkey meatballs, zucchini and a really quick sauce. Poof! Dinner!
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 zucchini, chopped
1 cup dried polenta
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup gruyere cheese, shredded or chopped
1/2 cup milk
In a large skillet over medium heat, add the zucchini and tomato paste to cook for about 4 minutes.
Add in the meatballs, 1 cup of the broth, and salt & pepper. Bring to a low boil and cook for about 8 minutes until broth reduces a bit.
In a medium pot, add the polenta, butter, 1 cup of broth, 1 cup water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and stir in the milk and cheese.
Spoon polenta in to the bowls, then top with meatballs, zucchini, and the sauce.
BBQ Chicken Pizza isn’t new or different BUT barbecue sauce in the tomato sauce woke this up! It was so flavorful with a sense of mystery. Where’s all that smokey sweetness coming from? Boom! I’ve made barbecue chicken pizza before but this new one is better!
2 chicken thighs
1 cup tomato sauce
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar
1/4 red onion
Preheat the oven (and pizza stone, if using one) to 400-degrees and grill the chicken.
Roll out the dough and stretch it onto the pizza stone (or pan sprayed with non-stick spray) and slice a few slits to prevent bubbles. Bake for 15-minutes until lightly browned.
Warm tomato sauce with most of the BBQ sauce, reserving about 3 tablespoons for the topping. Stir well.
Over medium heat, saute red onion for about 3 minutes to soften slightly but maintain a slight crunch.
Spoon the sauce onto the dough and top with shredded cheese.
Slice the chicken and add on top of the pizza with the onion.
Bake for 5-10 minutes to melt the cheese and finish crisping the crust.
Swirl the remaining BBQ sauce over the top.
Slice and enjoy!
It is definitely a sweet one from the BBQ sauce but with a nice smokey flavor from the sauce and the grilled chicken. I especially like these flavors as prime grilling season sort of wraps up. Plus the leftovers are so good.
I know what you’re thinking. Whatttt? On pizza? Yes. Do it! So good! All the exclamation points!!
Mr. J and I watched The Revenant and afterwards I needed something calming to clear my eyeballs from the graphic voilence before attempting to sleep. Enter: Diner Drive Ins & Dives going to Phoenix, Arizona to Sal’s Gilbert Pizza for Chicken Marsala Pizza. Perfect night-cap.
4 chicken tenders
1/2 white onion (or 2 shallots)
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup Marsala wine
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1-2 tablespoons fresh thyme
Preheat the oven (and pizza stone if using one) to 400-degrees.
In a large saute pan, cook the chicken over medium heat, sprinkled with salt & pepper. Flip and cook for about ~5 on each side until cooked through.
Meanwhile, dice the onion. Remove the chicken from the pan when cooked, and add the onion into the pan. Saute for about 5 minutes until getting translucent. Add the mushrooms.
Deglaze the pan with the wine and butter over a low simmer to thicken. Cook for about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and while the sauce thickens a bit, chop the chicken into pieces and add it back into the pan.
Stretch the dough out and lay onto the pizza stone or pan. Cut a few slits into the dough. Bake for ~10 minutes until starting to brown and puff.
Grate the cheese and sprinkle onto the crust. Crack pepper over the top.
Spoon the sauce, chicken, mushroom, and onion mixture over the cheese.
Sprinkle with thyme. Bake for 5 minutes until the cheese melts and the crust crisps.
Slice and enjoy!
I really loved this one. I liked that the sauce was so rich but the crust was crisp and the cheese was gooey. It was such a delightful combo. The cheese really served to “waterproof” the dough from the sauce. I think it’d get to soggy if the sauce was under the cheese. I think there’d be a few ways to assemble the pizza but I was glad for the way I did it.
Tomatoes were sort of a bust this year…we had a culprit nabbing them and the latest ones aren’t getting ripe. Herbs on the other hand…are going like GANG-BUSTERS. I wanted to highlight a few so they became part of my marinade. We grilled the chicken and I served it over some pretty basic orzo…like butter/tomatoes/basil/salt & pepper. The babe loved both the “chick-ken” and was thrilled to have his own bowl of orzo. It kind of was all over him, but Orzo-man was worth it.
I kept the yogurt-ness going with a tzatiki-like sauce to go with it. I don’t have any dill and I wasn’t about to buy more fresh herbs right now so I improvised with mint & oregano. Yay for all. the. herbs. Let’s count ‘em: basil, oregano, mint, & lemon thyme.
6 oz plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons Greek or Italian Dressing
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons each: oregano & thyme
5-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon each: mint & basil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic
1/4 cucumber, with the seeds removed, diced or shredded
1/2 pound of orzo
1 tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon butter
Mix together the 3/4 of the yogurt, milk, oregano, thyme, and add the chicken to marinade for at least 30 minutes. Mine marinated for ~2.5 hours.
Meanwhile, mix together the cucumber, yogurt, mint, oregano, lemon juice, and garlic. Then refrigerate until serving.
Grill the chicken until cooked through.
While the chicken is cooking, boil water for the orzo and cook according to the package (probably 8-10 minutes).
Toss together the orzo, butter, tomato and once it cools a bit, add the basil.
Serve the chicken over a bed of orzo, topped with the cucumber yogurt sauce.